Archive for June, 2015:

Migrating to the cloud? Start with a readiness assessment

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

After careful consideration you’ve decided it’s time to migrate a major on-premise software solution to the cloud. But how do you create and execute a plan to make sure your migration stays on time, on budget, and delivers on your expectations? Effective planning is critical, and it should start with a thorough assessment of your infrastructure by an experienced vendor who understands your specific objectives.

Usually available as a service engagement from a hosting vendor or, better yet, from the software vendor whose solution is being migrated to the cloud, this cloud readiness assessment is part checklist and part roadmap. It audits the entire environment so you can plan and execute an efficient and effective migration.

Why should you consider such a service? It takes the pressure off. Too many organizations attempt to go it alone, which usually means asking overworked IT staff to try to “fit it in.” Today, the average IT department is already responsible for multiple systems, often as many as seven or eight. Trying to add a project as large and complex as an enterprise cloud migration to is simply not realistic. Not only is that approach a disservice to those tasked with making it happen, it also sends the wrong message about the size and importance of the project. Future problems are usually inevitable.

A cloud readiness assessment may also help you achieve a faster time to value. Remember, when you go to a SaaS model, ROI has a completely different meaning. For example, you are no longer looking to recover your long-term capital investment, but instead, expecting to gain instant value from your new OpEx spending. A cloud readiness assessment can help you carefully plan the migration so you can achieve a faster time to value.

Finally, a vendor’s cloud readiness team can usually deliver skills and specialized expertise required for the specific solution that you or hosting provider might not have in-house. These teams are truly cross-functional, with a mix of expertise in project management, technical implementations, business processes, industry-specific insights, and more. Additionally, these teams usually have dozens, if not hundreds, of migrations under their belts.

While no one can say they’ve seen it all, these teams are typically astute and can help you identify potential obstacles – challenges you may not have been aware of – before they become unmanageable.

For example, a cloud readiness team will carefully evaluate your existing environment and document all aspects of your infrastructure that could be affected. This includes your entire architecture, including databases, applications, networks, specialized hardware, third-party interfaces, extensions, customizations, and more. Then, they create a comprehensive report that details these findings as well as their recommended action plan to achieve the most successful migration possible.

Cloud readiness in action
To better understand how a cloud readiness offering could work – and its ultimate benefits – consider the example of moving an on-premise workforce management solution to the cloud. Workforce management solutions are generally large, enterprise-level implementations that span employee-focused areas such as time and attendance, absence management, HR, payroll, hiring, scheduling, and labor analytics.

The example of workforce management is especially relevant because recent research shows that an increasing number of workforce management buyers are adopting SaaS tools. Research shows that SaaS will be the main driver in growing the global workforce management market by almost $1.5 billion from 2013 to 2018. Additionally, Gartner research indicates, through 2017, the number of organizations using external providers to deliver cloud-related services will rise to 91 percent to mitigate cost and security risks as well as to meet business goals and desired outcomes.

This research demonstrates that a majority of companies will soon be moving their on-premise workforce management systems to the cloud. But will they be successful?

They have to be. Workforce management systems manage processes and data related to paying employees, managing their time and balances, storing sensitive HR information, complying with industry regulations, and other critical functions. Errors can be extremely costly, especially if they lead to missing paychecks, employee morale issues, lost productivity, grievances and compliance, or even potential lawsuits. Failure is simply not an option.

A cloud readiness service is the perfect way to minimize these risks and maximize the results. Specifically, a readiness service is ideally suited to address specialized areas of a workforce management deployment, including:

* Data collection terminals. While many employees still refer to these as “timeclocks,” the fact is that today’s data collection devices are sophisticated proprietary technology consisting of hardware, software, and network/communication capabilities. As part of a migration, a readiness audit would assess the organization’s data collection methods. It would also provide recommendations for transitioning them to a secure network model that meets the organization’s security and performance objectives while ensuring that service is not interrupted when the switchover occurs.

* Interfaces and integrations. Like other enterprise-level technology, workforce management solutions tend to use many different interfaces and custom integrations to feed applications such as ERP systems, outside payroll systems, or third-party analytics applications. In this example, the readiness assessment evaluates the entire integration strategy, including database settings, to make sure mission-critical data continues to flow to support existing business processes.

* Customizations and configurations. Most organizations have custom reports, products, or database tables. Here, the cloud readiness service will thoroughly review existing customizations and configurations, and will provide recommendations to maintain, or even improve, the value they deliver.

When it comes to something as significant — and important — as migrating a major enterprise solution to the cloud, don’t go it alone. Investing in a cloud readiness service can help you assess where you stand today, plan for the migration, and execute against the plan. This helps free up valuable IT resources to focus on what’s really important – implementing strategic initiatives to help the business grow.

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Microsoft muddies waters about free copy of Windows 10 to beta testers

Revised statement leads to more questions: Will preview participants get free copy, no matter how they installed it, or not?

Microsoft on Friday said Windows 10 beta testers will receive a free copy of the operating system’s stable build next month then almost immediately tweaked its statement, again muddying the waters.

Gabriel Aul, the engineering general manager for Microsoft’s operating system group, got the ball rolling Friday in a blog where he also pointed out several changes to the Windows Insider program, Microsoft’s name for its Windows 10 preview regimen. The most newsworthy of Aul’s statements was that Insider participants would receive Windows 10’s final code, even if they didn’t install the preview on a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC eligible for the one-year free upgrade.

“Windows Insiders running the Windows 10 Insider Preview (Home and Pro editions) with their registered MSA [Microsoft Account] connected to their PC will receive the final release build of Windows 10 starting on July 29,” Aul said. “As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build.”

In several tweets Friday, Aul expanded on the deal, which he had alluded to several months ago without spelling out details.

“Install [build] 10130, connect registered Insider MSA, upgrade to RTM [release to manufacturing], stays genuine,” Aul said in one Twitter message on Friday when answering a reporter’s question of, “So to be clear: install 10130, upgrade to RTM when available, and it’ll stay genuine + activated with no money spent, forever?”

“Genuine” is Microsoft-speak for a legitimate, activated copy of its software. As of Sunday, build 10130 was the most recent of Windows 10; Microsoft released it on May 29.

The move as Aul outlined it would be unprecedented for the Redmond, Wash. company, which has historically turned a deaf ear to suggestions from public beta testers that they be rewarded for their work hunting down bugs with free software.

But while the decision evoked a more generous Microsoft, it was tempered by the reality that most customers running consumer- or business-grade editions of Windows 7 and 8.1 — with the notable exception of Windows Enterprise, the for-volume-licensing-customers-only SKU (stock-keeping unit) — will get a free copy of Windows 10 in any case.

The route to a free copy of Windows 10, Aul implied, would be of interest only to users who did not have a genuine-marked copy of Windows 7 Home Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate or Professional, or Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro.

Those users would include people who had PCs currently running an ineligible OS, such as Windows Vista or the even older Windows XP, or who want to equip a virtual machine (VM) with Windows 10 on a device running another edition of Windows or, say, a Mac armed with software like VMware’s Fusion or the open-source VirtualBox.

Aul’s reference to build 10130 may mean that the window of opportunity for the free Windows 10 will shut once that is superseded by the next iteration.

More interesting, however, was an addition to Aul’s blog made between its Friday debut and late Saturday: “It’s important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer.”

That line was tacked onto the end of the paragraph in which Aul had described the process by which Insider participants would be able to obtain the stable release on July 29, and that all testers — whether they upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.1 or installed the preview on a wiped drive or VM — would be able to run Windows 10 free of charge.

The blog post was also edited, removing the word “activated” from the original. The initial post said, “As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated. Once you have successfully installed this build and activated, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh [emphasis added].”

The revamped post deleted the words in bold above.

Microsoft’s (or Aul’s) changes threw doubt onto the statements Aul had made. He did not reply to a question posed via Twitter late Saturday about whether the process as he outlined still stood.

The removal of “activation” — and the new line with the term “genuine” in it — signaled that it did not. The simplest explanation is that while Microsoft will, in fact, give testers the stable build, it will not be activated with a product key, and thus “non-genuine” in Microsoft parlance, unless some other step is taken, perhaps a connection to a prior copy of Windows 7 or 8.1.

Non-genuine copies of Windows are marked as such with a watermark. Microsoft has not revealed what other restrictions might be placed on an unactivated or non-genuine copy of Windows 10.

Interpretation gymnastics are virtually required when parsing Microsoft’s statements. Microsoft chooses its words carefully, and when it does disclose information, often does so in parcels that are by turns opaque, ambiguous and confusing to customers. That frequently forces it to retract or modify earlier comments.

Something similar occurred earlier this year when Microsoft seemed to say that non-genuine copies would be upgraded to legitimate versions of Windows 10. Days later the company walked back from that stance, saying that the free Windows 10 upgrade offer “will not apply to non-genuine Windows devices.”

The confusion may be frustrating to some customers — as in many other cases, customers who are among the most vocal of Microsoft’s — but moot for the vast majority of users, who will simply upgrade existing, and eligible, PCs. Microsoft’s licensing is complex enough that there are countless edge cases where ambiguity is a side effect.

Still, the lack of clarity about many questions related to Windows 10 at this late date is disturbing, although not rare for Microsoft. At times the company seems entirely unable to come clean about its policies.

Computerworld, for example, installed the 10130 build from a disk image onto a new VM on a Mac — not as an upgrade from one equipped with Windows 7 or 8.1 — and although it was marked as “Windows is activated,” that may not last.


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VMware takes on Microsoft in the identity management space

After a number of strategic acquisitions, VMware looks to simplify identity management.

Microsoft and VMware seem to be continuing on their collision course, and this time it’s VMware’s turn to take a shot. The company on Monday launched a new cloud service that helps companies manage passwords and identities.

VMware Identity Manager is being billed as ID as a Service (IDaaS) because it’s offered as both a cloud service and on-premises. It combines several VMware acquisitions into one program that is equal parts Mobile Device Manager (MDM) and Active Directory.

At its heart, VMware Identity Manager is a single sign-on product supporting cloud, remote, and on-premises users. The product is based on TriCipher technology acquired by VMware in 2010, which is now a part of its AirWatch mobile device management system, which was also an acquisition.

The solution works with other VMware products, such as vCloud Air and vRealize Suite, to provide a single sign-on for administrators to work between management interfaces. The integration with AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management provides an extra factor of authentication rather than passwords.

It has a customizable and context-aware HTML5 application portal to assist employees with getting set up, automated app provisioning, and offers more secure access to applications across any device. It also federates existing on-premises Active Directory infrastructures to centralize end-user management.

VMware Horizon and AirWatch already supports iOS devices, but VMware announced that it will expand its iOS support with the development of application configuration templates and vertical solutions for industries like healthcare, airlines, education and others. It will provide users with a one-touch sign on for their specific enterprise.

VMware also announced 15 new members of its Application Configuration for Enterprise (ACE) standard, which it launched this year. They include Dropbox, Everbridge, Kony, MicroStrategy, ServiceMax, Showpad, Syncplicity by EMC, and Webalo.

Finally, VMware announced its AirWatch systems now support the AT&T Work Platform, a voice, data, and messaging service for businesses that offers split billing so end-users can split the cost of their business and personal use in a BYOD program.

So it seems VMware and Microsoft are duking it out in the cloud and the data center. Microsoft crept into VMware’s domain with Hyper-V, and VMware comes back with a direct competitor to Active Directory. It will be interesting to see Microsoft’s next move.

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9 useful PowerShell tools

Microsoft’s mighty Windows administration framework gets even better with the help of these tools and materials. Almost all are free; the one for-fee tool is well worth the cost.

Why PowerShell?
Ah, PowerShell. A simple blue window and some text has transformed the world of Windows administration from a point-and-click GUI to scripts that automate everything, as well as provide log rotation and identity lifecycle management and which server receives which updates.

With everything in the newest versions of Windows Server accessible primarily via PowerShell and only secondarily (and sometimes even not at all) via the server’s GUI, PowerShell knowledge has become a must. Sometimes, though, it is difficult to know whether you are proceeding correctly. Luckily, there are other resources available that will help speed you along in your training and your professional responsibilities.

In this slideshow, I will highlight 9 resources for immersing yourself in the PowerShell world. Whether you’re writing scripts, working in a DevOps-oriented environment or administering software from vendors other than Microsoft using PowerShell, there is something for everyone in this group of resources. And best of all — they are all free, save for one excellent paid product.

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive in.

Dell PowerGUI
Presumably left over from Dell’s 2012 acquisition of Quest, PowerGUI is a visual complement to PowerShell. It makes assembling scripts and getting things done in PowerShell as simple as selecting cmdlets that are appropriate for your task and then dragging them into place. Perfect for those who are new to PowerShell but have a basic grasp of its concepts, PowerGUI is an easy-to-use script editor that will probably advance your understanding of assembling more complex and advanced scripts quicker than anything else — especially if you are a visual learner.

Perhaps the most useful features of PowerGUI are the Power Packs: Pre-built scripts that have been open-sourced by the user community and made available to other PowerGUI users. These range from adding users to managing switches; they can be customized and further improved upon, or simply baked into whatever script you are currently writing, saving the time it would take you to reinvent the wheel.

There was once a paid edition of PowerGUI with more advanced features, but that edition was rolled up into the freeware product. PowerGUI does not seem to have been updated for a while, but that does not make it any less useful, and since it is freeware, you have nothing to lose by adding it to your arsenal.

Sapien Technologies PowerShell Studio 2015
More advanced PowerShell developers and administrators need more advanced tooling, and PowerShell Studio 2015 from Sapien is the first place to look. When you first open PowerShell Studio, you are immediately reminded of Visual Studio and for good reason: PowerShell Studio is as much an integrated scripting environment as Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE).

Features include: Ribbon, remote debugging support, compiler features that let you turn scripts into executable files, support for multiple versions of PowerShell (useful for targeting scripts to different servers running different levels of the Windows Server operating system), source control for checking in and out script code and support for multiple developers. All of which make this an obvious choice for shops where administrators and developers work together on building advanced PowerShell scripts to handle a variety of scenarios.

At $389 per license, it is a little pricey. But considering all of the product’s functionality, if you live in this part of the PowerShell world, it is well worth the cost of admission.

Amazon AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell
It’s not just Microsoft that is jumping on the PowerShell bandwagon; even a competitive cloud service like Amazon Web Services recognizes that (a) Windows Server is huge, (b) lots of administrators are learning PowerShell, and (c) anything that lets administrators manage Amazon services more easily increases the likelihood that an Amazon server will stick in any given enterprise. Thus the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell were born.

With AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell, you can manage virtual machines and service instances that are running in the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), or write scripts that automate the management of any workloads you have running in a variety of Amazon services. The tools install a bunch of cmdlets into your Windows PowerShell “sphere of influence” and let you manage and script tasks like backing up data from virtual machines in EC2 to the Simple Storage Service (S3) or logging and publishing metrics to the Amazon CloudWatch personal dashboard.

If you know PowerShell and you use Amazon cloud services, these tools will be a great addition.

Microsoft Script Browser for Windows PowerShell ISE
The problem: You want to do something in PowerShell. You know your outcome. But you do not know how to get there and, further, you have a sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere out there on the Internet has already figured it out and probably would tell you for free. What if there were this free magic tool that would scour the TechNet Script Center — probably the most authoritative source for PowerShell scripts on Earth right now — and find scripts that purport to do what you need? That is exactly what Microsoft Script Browser claims to do.

It also includes a built-in Script Analyzer function that will read through your scripts and suggest improvements or changes to make based upon scripting best practices.

This tool plugs right into the Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment, which you get for free as part of Windows. You might need to install the feature on Windows client machines, but it should be installed by default as part of the basic Windows Server image.

Adam Driscoll’s PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio
If you are more on the “dev” side of DevOps, then you probably use Visual Studio as one of your tools of choice. While Visual Studio has a lot going for it, it does not do a lot with PowerShell out of the box. That is where Adam Driscoll’s PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio project comes in.

This project integrates within Visual Studio, brings syntax highlighting and colors to the IDE, and adds IntelliSense support for automatically completing syntax elements like variables, cmdlets and arguments as you type within a Visual Studio window. It also extends options for configuring Visual Studio projects so you can keep your scripting efforts organized and together, extends support for scripting arguments with the MS Build compiler and supports script debugging via breakpoint and breakpoint pane support. It also extends some testing features with Pester and PSate test adapters.

All in all, this is a free set of resources for making Visual Studio more PowerShell savvy. If you like this after downloading it, consider throwing Mr. Driscoll a few bucks for his efforts.

Microsoft Windows PowerShell Web Access, via Control Panel
PowerShell Web Access is like webmail but for PowerShell cmdlets. You log into a webpage that presents a Web-based console where you can run cmdlets, perform operations and do simple remote administration tasks right over the Internet. There’s no need for PowerShell, extensions or cmdlets to be installed on the machine you are browsing with.

This means that yes, you can run PowerShell operations from your iPad if you have this feature enabled.
Best of all, it is free with a Windows Server license and is built right in. I do not see this in use a lot, but I think it is very handy. As the saying goes, “You might not need this until you need it, but when you do end up needing it, you need it very badly.”

Be careful, though, as opening this facility up to users outside your network is just an invitation for security problems. Restrict access to the PowerShell Web Access site in IIS to only IP addresses local to your corporate network. Or even better, restrict that access to a few workstations on your local network and perhaps a static VPN address you can use to perform administration tasks remotely.

Free. Windows feature, installed through Control Panel / Add and Remove Windows Features.

PowerShell Training via the Microsoft Virtual Academy
With great power comes the need for a lot of training. PowerShell is a capable language that can do so much. It marries scripting with development and .NET programming. It comes with a universe of cmdlets. It has its own syntax. And while I have (and will continue to) explain PowerShell basics training on, those pieces just scratch the surface of all there is to know.

Fortunately, the Microsoft Virtual Academy contains hours of video training on getting to know PowerShell, using it and making the language work for you. These courses include information from stars such as the father of PowerShell, Jeffrey Snover, and distinguished technologists who have made (new) careers out of understanding every nook and cranny of PowerShell. Perfect for lunch hours.

Master-PowerShell, an ebook from Dr. Tobias Weltner
If you are a visual learner, then video training is the best way to learn PowerShell. For those of us more language inclined, we can learn from Microsoft MVP Dr. Tobias Weltner in his free ebook cleverly titled Master-PowerShell. Weltner covers a lot of ground in his book, including variables, arrays and hashtables, the pipeline, objects, conditions, loops, functions, scripts, error handling, scope, text and regular expressions. Also included: XML, administrative work using the file system, Registry, processes, services, event logs, WMI and users. He even includes a chapter on .NET and compiling for the developers among us.

The book is hosted by Idera, a popular administrative tool developer, and can be found over on the site, which is a useful community resource in its own right.

VMware vSphere PowerCLI
Like Amazon, VMware has figured out that, in some respects, making nice with your competitors for the benefit of your mutual customers is not a bad thing. To that end, VMware created PowerCLI, a command line-based environment for managing VMware vSphere resources that integrates PowerShell throughout.

The PowerCLI environment is basically a bunch of cmdlets that interact with vSphere and vCloud, and also provides interfaces based on C# and PowerShell for the various APIs that are exposed by the VMware products. If you are a VMware shop and want to get your hands on PowerCLI, head over to this link. Is it not great when everyone plays nicely together in the sandbox?

Freeware, with a free cmdlet reference available.

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Is your social media presence hurting your job search?

You hear a lot about what you shouldn’t post on social media, but employers are starting to grow weary of hiring candidates who lack a social presence all together. Take control of your brand by balancing your personal and professional image to attract recruiters.

Social media can make or break your career. We’ve all heard at least one story of an employee getting fired over a Tweet or Facebook post. And when you apply to a job, most hiring managers will first turn to Google to vet your background and qualifications.

Whichever way you swing it, you can’t avoid social media anymore, and how you manage — or don’t manage — your social presence can make or break your job hunt. It’s time to take control of your image and start thinking of social media as personal branding.

Why does it matter?
Managing a Twitter feed and updating your LinkedIn profile might not seem important, but these outlets have become strong elements in recruitment. If you have a lax attitude to your social media accounts, it can hurt you just as much as having no social presence at all.

According to a 2015 survey from CareerBuilder of more than 2,000 employers, “35-percent of employers say they are less likely to interview job candidates if they are unable to find information about that person online.”

You might think keeping your personal profiles set to private is the right thing to do, but many employers are starting to view a lack of public social presence as a red flag.

Take control of your brand
It’s important to be aware of your social presence and to take control of what you put out there. Recruiters aren’t really searching for salacious details about your life; most are looking to confirm that your skills and qualifications make you the best person for the job.

John Jersin, former Google executive and current CEO of Connectifier, says “you should have updated and accurate information everywhere someone might look. It helps you look consistent and organized, but it also gives you an opportunity to briefly emphasize important parts of your resume.”

And don’t forget, just because hiring managers and recruiters might be checking your social profiles, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a look at theirs. Learning more about the company you are working for as well as the hiring manager or recruiter can better prepare you for the interview.

Industry matters
In CareerBuilder’s survey, 76 percent of information technology recruiters and 64 percent of financial services recruiters turned to social media to find and vet potential candidates. Other industries that rely heavily on social media include sales, professional and business services, manufacturing, healthcare and retail. If you work in any of these industries, it’s definitely time to take your social media seriously.

Get Recruited
If you aren’t actively searching for a new job, but are open to interesting positions, maintaining a strong social presence can help recruiters find you. Controlling your personal brand can help ensure that potential job offers come straight to your inbox, rather than finding job listings and applying directly.

You should take note of not only LinkedIn as a strong recruitment platform, but Twitter as well. More recruiters are turning to Twitter to find potential candidates, and it is quickly becoming a resource for job seekers and recruiters.

In a recent study, Twitter was cited as having more job listings than any other platform, and 174 of the companies on the Fortune 500 have a dedicated Twitter account for recruitment. Your Twitter profile might not only help you find an opening with a company, but it might help the company find you.

A little mystery is good
Don’t run off and unlock all of your social media profiles right away. Some things are better left private, such as your Facebook profile or a personal Twitter account.

Dawn Edmiston, clinical associate professor of marketing at the College of William and Mary, says “I would definitely wonder about the background of a tech professional who had zero presence on social media, rather than the individual who has a well-managed LinkedIn and Twitter presence, but prefers that their personal social media such as Facebook remains private.”

The keyword here is “well-managed,” try to draw a line between your professional image and your personal image. Keeping your Facebook account private is probably a smart idea, but you might consider having two separate Twitter accounts – one professional and one personal.

What are they looking for?
The CareerBuilder study also revealed the top five things recruiters are looking for in your social profile, which includes inappropriate photos, alcohol or drug use, negative posts about past employers or coworkers, a lack of communication skills as well as any discriminatory or inflammatory content regarding race, gender, religion, and other issues.

“Forty-eight percent of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate — down slightly from 51 percent last year,” according to CareerBuilder.

However, the survey also revealed what type of social content made recruiters move forward with a candidate. This included any background information that supported the candidate’s qualifications, signs that the candidate’s personality would be a good fit for the company, a professional image, strong communication skills, and creativity.

Proving to recruiters that you can maintain professionalism on social media is a good sign that you will carry that over into your working life.

Time to get on board
If you’re waiting to see if social media is a passing phase, you’re going to be left behind. Recruiters using social media to find candidates has gone up 43 percent since last year and 39-percent since 2013, according to CareerBuilder.

“Researching candidates via social media and other online sources has transformed from an emerging trend to a staple of online recruitment,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

It’s time to get smart about your social presence and view it as a personal brand, rather than a personal outlet.

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70-687 Configuring Windows 8.1

70-687 Configuring Windows 8.1
Published: 17 September 2012
Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil)
Audiences: IT professionals
Technology: Windows 8.1
Credit towards certification: MCP, MCSA, MCSE

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area in the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area in the exam.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

As of January 2014, this exam includes content covering Windows 8.1.

Install and upgrade to Windows 8.1 (10–15%)

Evaluate hardware readiness and compatibility

Choose between an upgrade and a clean installation; determine which SKU to use, including Windows RT; determine requirements for particular features, including Hyper-V, Miracast display, pervasive device encryption, virtual smart cards and Secure Boot

Install Windows 8.1

Install as Windows To Go, migrate from previous versions of Windows to Windows 8.1, upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, install to VHD, install additional Windows features, configure Windows for additional languages

Migrate and configure user data

Migrate user profiles; configure folder location; configure profiles, including profile version, local, roaming and mandatory

Preparation resources

Utility spotlight: Are you compatible with Windows 8?
Install, deploy and migrate to Windows 8
Windows 8 upgrade paths

Configure hardware and applications (10–15%)

Configure devices and device drivers

Install, update, disable and roll back drivers; resolve driver issues; configure driver settings, including signed and unsigned drivers; manage driver packages

Install and configure desktop apps and Windows Store apps

Install and repair applications by using Windows Installer, configure default program settings, modify file associations, manage access to Windows Store

Control access to local hardware and applications

Configure application restrictions, including Software Restriction Policies and AppLocker; manage installation of and access to removable devices; configure Assigned Access

Configure Internet Explorer 11 and Internet Explorer for the desktop

Configure compatibility view; configure Internet Explorer 11 settings, including add-ons, downloads, security and privacy

Configure Hyper-V

Create and configure virtual machines, including integration services; create and manage checkpoints; create and configure virtual switches; create and configure virtual disks; move a virtual machine’s storage

Preparation resources

Device drivers and deployment
Managing client access to the Windows Store

Configure network connectivity (10-15%)

Configure IP settings

Configure name resolution, connect to a network, configure network locations

Configure networking settings

Connect to a wireless network, manage preferred wireless networks, configure network adapters, configure location-aware printing

Configure and maintain network security

Configure Windows Firewall, configure Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, configure connection security rules (IPsec), configure authenticated exceptions, configure network discovery

Configure remote management

Choose the appropriate remote management tools; configure remote management settings; modify settings remotely by using MMCs or Windows PowerShell; configure Remote Assistance, including Easy Connect

Preparation resources

Managing the new wireless network (IEEE 802.11) policies settings
Windows Firewall with advanced security and IPsec
Deploy remote server administration tools

Configure access to resources (10–15%)

Configure shared resources

Configure shared folder permissions, configure HomeGroup settings, configure libraries, configure shared printers, set up and configure OneDrive

Configure file and folder access

Encrypt files and folders by using Encrypting File System (EFS), configure NTFS permissions, configure disk quotas, configure file access auditing

Configure authentication and authorisation

Configure user rights, manage credentials, manage certificates, configure biometrics, configure picture passwords, configure PIN, set up and configure Microsoft account, configure virtual smart cards, configure authentication in workgroups or domains, configure User Account Control (UAC) behaviour

Preparation resources

Microsoft Virtual Academy: Windows 8 security insights: Module 7—SmartScreen filtering
Windows authentication overview

Configure remote access and mobility (15–20%)

Configure remote connections

Configure remote authentication, configure Remote Desktop settings, configure virtual private network (VPN) connections and authentication, enable VPN reconnect, configure broadband tethering

Configure mobility options

Configure offline file policies, configure power policies, configure Windows To Go, configure sync options, configure WiFi direct

Configure security for mobile devices

Configure BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, configure startup key storage

Preparation resources

Windows 8 VPN get connected
Deploy Windows To Go in your organisation
BitLocker Group Policy settings

Monitor and maintain Windows clients (10–15%)

Configure and manage updates

Configure update settings, configure Windows Update policies, manage update history, roll back updates, update Windows Store apps

Manage local storage

Manage disk volumes and file systems, manage storage spaces

Monitor system performance

Configure and analyse event logs, configure event subscriptions, configure Task Manager, monitor system resources, optimise networking performance, configure indexing options

Preparation resources

Windows Update PowerShell module
Windows Performance Monitor
Windows 8: Task Manager retuned

Configure system and data recovery options (10-15%)

Configure system recovery

Configure a recovery drive, configure system restore, perform a driver rollback, perform a refresh or recycle, configure restore points

Configure file recovery

Restore previous versions of files and folders, configure file history, recover files from OneDrive

Preparation resources

Repair and recovery
How to: Set up and use file history on Windows 8
Windows 8 Jump Start Module 6: Recovery and security

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A company has 100 client computers that run Windows 8. You need to assign static IPv6
addresses to the client computers. Which Windows Powershell cmdlet should you run?

A. Set-NetTCPSetting
B. Set-NetIPInterface
C. Set-NetlPv6Protocol
D. set-NetIPAddress

Answer: D

A company has an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain. All client computers run
Windows 8. Portable client computers no longer connect to the corporate wireless network. You
need to ensure that when the corporate wireless network is available, the computers always
connect to it automatically. Which two actions would achieve the goal? (Each correct answer
presents a complete solution. Choose two.)

A. Create a Group Policy object (GPO) to configure a wireless network policy. Link the GPO to
the organizational unit that contains the computers.
B. Configure the corporate wireless network as an unmetered network.
C. Configure the corporate wireless network as a preferred network.
D. Manually connect to the corporate wireless network and select the option to connect
automatically to that network.

Answer: CD

A company has client computers that run Windows 8. The corporate network is configured for
IPv4 and IPv6. You need to disable Media Sensing for IPv6 on the client computers without
affecting IPv4 communications. What should you do on each client computer?

A. Run the Disable-NetAdapterBinding Windows PowerShell cmdlet.
B. Run the Disable-NetAdapter Windows PowerShell cmdlet.
C. Run the Set-NetlPv6Protocol Windows PowerShell cmdlet.
D. Run the Set-NetlPv4Protocol Windows PowerShell cmdlet.

Answer: C

A company has an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain. All client computers run
Windows 8. Two computers named COMPUTER1 and COMPUTER2 are connected to one network
switch and joined to the domain. Windows Firewall is turned off on both computers. You are
planning a remote management solution. You have the following requirements:
* Ensure that COMPUTER2 can run remote commands on COMPUTER1.
* Test the solution by successfully running a command from COMPUTER2 that executes on
You need to select the commands to run on COMPUTER1 and COMPUTER2 to meet the remote
management requirements. Which commands should you run?
To answer, drag the appropriate command or commands to the correct location or locations in
the answer area. Commands may be used once, more than once, or not at all. You may need to
drag the split bar between panes or scroll to view content.
Select and Place:


A company has 100 client computers that run Windows 8. The client computers are members of a
workgroup. A custom application requires a Windows Firewall exception on each client computer.
You need to configure the exception on the client computers without affecting existing firewall
settings. Which Windows PowerShell cmdlet should you run on each client computer?

A. New-NetFirewallRule
B. Set-NetFirewallSetting
C. Set-NetFirewallRule
D. Set-NetFirewallProfile
E. New-NetIPSecMainModeRule

Answer: A

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Exam 70-243 Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

Exam 70-243 Administering and Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager

Published: 16 April 2012
Languages: English
Audiences: IT professionals
Technology: Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Credit towards certification: MCTS

Skills measured
This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area in the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area in the exam.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

Design and plan System Center Configuration Manager infrastructure (10–15%)

Plan System Center Configuration Manager hierarchy and site system roles

Pre-installation requirements, examining the current computing environment, CAS, primary and secondary sites, branch cache, designing and recommending System Center Configuration Manager server architecture, extending the Active Directory schema (DNS service records, WINS), managed providers, discovery methods and planning migration

Plan and configure security

PKI or self-signed certificates, HTTP or HTTPs implementation, NAP, FEP and planning role-based security

Define the Business Continuity Plan (BCP)

Disaster recovery and site maintenance

Preparation resources

Planning for Configuration Manager sites and hierarchy
Security and privacy for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Backup and recovery in Configuration Manager

Manage operating system deployment (OSD) (10–15%)

Configure the OSD environment

Configuring WDS, configuring PXE, configuring the VM build environment and integrating with MDT

Build and capture an image

Updating base images, task sequences

Deploy an image

New (bare metal) and upgrade images, VHD deployment

Manage images

Drivers, servicing

Preparation resources

Planning for PXE-initiated operating system deployments in Configuration Manager
Planning for Deploying operating system images in Configuration Manager
Planning for boot image deployments in Configuration Manager

Deploy applications and software updates (10–15%)

Create an application

Defining deployment types, deploying applications to RDSH, MSI, and App-V, and converting a package

Deploy an application

User device affinity, compliance settings, Software Center and task sequences

Monitor application deployment

Resolving issues, managing application distribution points, distribution point groups, Content Library, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), log files and In Console Monitoring

Manage the software library and application catalogue

Web portal configuration, work schedule and definition of primary machines for users

Create and monitor software updates

Automatic Deployment Rules (ADR), SSRS, creating update groups, creating deployment packages, log files and In Console Monitoring

Configure FEP clients by using System Center Configuration Manager

Creating and managing policy by using Configuration Manager, configuring definitions within the client policy, exporting from Configuration Manager, choosing which template to use and select exclusions

Preparation resources

How to deploy applications in Configuration Manager
Software updates in Configuration Manager
Configuring Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager

Manage compliance settings (10–15%)

Build a Configuration Item (CI)

Creating a CI, importing a CI, setting CI versioning and remediation rules

Create and monitor a baseline

Importing a configuration pack, building a custom baseline, SSRS, log files, In Console Monitoring, deploying a baseline

Preparation resources

Compliance settings in Configuration Manager
How to create Windows configuration items for compliance settings in Configuration Manager
How to monitor for compliance settings in Configuration Manager

Manage sites (10–15%)

Manage collections

Setting maintenance windows, defining rules for collections (collection membership, query-based collections), collection-specific settings

Monitor site health

SSRS, log files, In Console Monitoring, Toolkit

Configure software updates

Sync schedule, catalogues, products, WSUS and superseded updates

Manage site communications

Configuring bandwidth settings for a site address, configuring senders, secondary sites (file-based replication, SQL replication paths), resolving DP connections

Manage boundary groups

Creating boundary groups, using boundary groups in more than one DP, client roaming, Internet-based clients

Manage role-based security

Security scopes, custom roles, cloned security roles and permissions

Preparation resources

Site administration for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Configuring software updates in Configuration Manager
Implementing role-based administration

Manage clients (10–15%)

Deploy clients

GPO, WSUS, logon scripts, manual, client push, OSD task sequence, monitoring client health

Manage mobile devices

Enrolling mobile devices, Exchange Connector, AMT enrolment point (out-of-band management) and wiping mobile devices

Manage client agent settings

Desired configuration settings, mobile device client agent, NAP client agent, configuring power management, configuring remote control agent, hardware inventory agent, software inventory agent, software metering agent, advertised programs agent, computer agent

Preparation resources

Deploying clients for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
System Center: Managing mobile devices
Deploying and managing ConfigMgr clients

Manage inventory (10–15%)

Manage hardware inventory

Configuring MOF, export and import settings, enabling or disabling WMI classes, extending hardware inventory to other client assets, WMI or registry reporting

Manage software inventory

Standardised vendor name, list of tracked inventory, report inventory data, asset intelligence, software metering (enable or disable rules, report software metering results)

Monitor inventory data flow

Client-to-site, site-to-site

Preparation resources

Hardware inventory in Configuration Manager
Software inventory in Configuration Manager
Technical reference for site communications in Configuration Manager

Manage reports and queries (10–15%)

Build queries

Console queries, WQL, sub-selects

Create reports

Cloning and modifying reports, creating custom reports, import and export reports

Manage SSRS

Configuring security, configuring caching, configuring subscriptions

Preparation resources

Configuring reporting in Configuration Manager
Reporting in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1
How to create queries in Configuration Manager


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You recently migrated from System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to System Center 2012
Configuration Manager. Your network contains a client computer that runs the 64-bit version of
Windows 7 and the 32-brt version of Widows 7. Some client computers have the Microsoft Application
Virtualization (App-V) client installed. You have an Application named App1. You have a 64-bit version
of App1, a 32-bit version of App1, and a virtual version of App1. You need to deploy the Application to
all of the client computers. The solution must minimize the amount of administrative effort. What should
you do?

A. Create a new Application that has three different deployment types and create a target collection
for each of the deployment types.
B. Create a new Application that has three different deployment types and configure global
conditions for each of the deployment types.
C. Create a new package for each version of App1.
D. Create a new Application for each version of App1.

Answer: B

Applications contain multiple deployment types that contain the files and commands necessary to
install the software. For example, deployment types for a local installation , a virtual application
package or a version of the application for mobile devices. MSI 64, 32 deployment types
Deploy multiple type to multiple collection ( x64, x32, VirtualUserCollection) You don’t choose to deploy
a specific deployment type. Instead, you deploy the application itself. It’s pretty simple in this case, with
only one deployment type, as it’s fairly obvious which one will be installed. But if you had multiple
deployment types, you would need to specify rules to determine which one is used.

You have an Application named App1. You need to ensure that users in the finance department can
install App1 by using the Application Catalog. What should you do?

A. Create a required user deployment and target the deployment to all of the finance department users.
B. Create a required user deployment and target the deployment to all of the client computers in the finance department.
C. Create an available user deployment and target the deployment to all of the finance department users.
D. Create an available user deployment and target the deployment to all of the client computers in the finance department.

Answer: C

By selecting “Available” it will be selectable for the users in the Application Catalog. The “Required”
option would force the installation to all users in the finance department.

Your company uses System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Microsoft Forefront Endpoint
Protection integration. You deploy Forefront Endpoint Protection to all client computers. The company
uses a management Application named App1. You discover that Forefront Endpoint Protection blocks
App1. You need to ensure that App1 can run. How should you configure the Default Client Malware
Policy? (Each correct answer presents a complete solution. Choose two.)

A. Create a software restriction policy.
B. Add a process exclusion.
C. Add a file location exclusion.
D. Modify the schedule scan settings.
E. Click the Use behavior monitoring check box.

Answer: BC


Your network contains a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager environment. You deploy a
Microsoft Office 2007 package to all client computers by using Configuration Manager. Your company
purchases Office 2010. You need to ensure that all users can install Office 2010 from the Application
Catalog. What should you do?

A. Deploy a new package for Office 2010.
B. Deploy Office 2010 by using a Group Policy Object (GPO).
C. Update the Office 2007 source file and redeploy the package.
D. Deploy a new Application for Office 2010.

Answer: D

You deploy Windows 7 by using Operating System Deployment (OSD). The development task
sequence contains steps to install software updates and Applications. The amount of time required to
deploy the Windows 7 image has increased significantly during the last six months. You need to
recommend a solution to reduce the amount of time it takes to deploy the image. What should you

A. Synchronize software updates before deploying the image.
B. Use offline servicing for the image.
C. Create a new automatic deployment rule.
D. Add an additional Install Software Updates step to the deployment task sequence.

Answer: B

By updating an image in the Software Library instead of performing a new build and capture of the
operating system image you will gain a few distinct advantages. You will be able to reduce the risk of
vulnerabilities during operating system deployments and reduce the overall operating system
deployment to the end user. You will also reduce the administrative effort to maintain your operating
system images. The feature is applicable for Component Based Servicing (CBS) updates and for the
following operating systems:
Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 and later
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 SP2 and later
Microsoft Windows 7 RTM
Microsoft Windows 2008 R2
* At the launch of ConfigMgr 2012 Beta 2 Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
are not supported. They will be supported with Configuration Manager 2012 RTM.

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Security Is a Prisoner of the Network

Cybersecurity professionals must gain experience and get comfortable with virtual network security

I have a very distinct memory about a conversation I had with a colleague in the mid-to-late 1990s about how NetWare worked. I told him that file and print services resided “in the network” but he couldn’t get his arms around this concept. He continually pushed back by saying things like, “well the printers and file servers have to be plugged into the network so isn’t NetWare just running on these devices?”

His assumption was somewhat accurate since NetWare did control physical file servers and printers. What he didn’t get however was that NetWare made physical network devices subservient to a global and virtual file and print services. Before NetWare (and similar technologies like Sun’s NFS), you had to have a physical connection to a device and/or control these connections on a device-by-device basis. Novell radically changed this by using software to abstract connections. This made it much easier to point users at local printers and file shares while applying central access controls for security and privacy.

Why am I strolling down memory LAN (author’s note: I am pretty proud of this pun)? Because we face a similar changing situation today with regard to network security and cloud computing. I contend that security has been a prisoner of the network over the past 20 years.

During this timeframe, large organizations deployed an army of network security devices to filter or at least inspect IP packets for security purposes. As organizations added more servers and more network traffic, they were forced to add more network security devices. This required a series of unnatural acts like moving traffic to and fro so it could pass by various security checkpoints. Security and network engineers also created security zones with physical and virtual network segmentation, and employed teams of people to create and manage ACLs, firewalls, WAFs, etc.

Not surprisingly, network security has become incredibly complex, cumbersome, and fragile as a result of layers upon layers of network imprisonment. It now takes a heroic effort from cybersecurity and network operations team to keep up with these challenges.

Fast forward to 2015 and there is a radical change occurring. IT initiatives like server virtualization, cloud computing, NFV, and SDN are game changers poised to break the tight coupling between cybersecurity and the network.

Now this breakup is still in its early stages and like the song says: Breaking up is hard to do. For example, ESG research reveals that 60% of organizations say they are still learning how to apply network security policies (and policy enforcement) to public/private cloud infrastructure. Furthermore, 60% of organizations say that their network security operations and processes lack the right level of automation and orchestration necessary for public/private cloud computing infrastructure (note: I am an ESG employee).

As painful as this separation is today, CISOs and network engineers must understand that there may be a network security rainbow on the horizon. Just as NetWare turned file and print into a productive and operationally-efficient virtual network service, there are a number of technology trends and innovations that could enable CISOs to virtualize and distribute network security services across the entire network. For example:

Foundational technologies like SDN, NFV, Cisco ACI and VMware NSX.
Cloud security monitoring tools from HyTrust, ThreatConnect, and SkyHigh Networks as well as cloud connectors for ArcSight, QRadar, RSA, and Splunk.

NetWare-like network security services software from CloudPassage, Illumio, and vArmour.

Network security orchestration tools from firms like RedSeal and Tufin.
Virtual editions of leading physical network security products from vendors like Check Point, Fortinet, Juniper, and Palo Alto Networks.

A few years ago, VMware declared that organizations could actually improve their cybersecurity positions by embracing server virtualization. While this seemed like blasphemy at the time, VMware was absolutely right. And the addition of the technologies and trends I mention above makes this statement even more possible. In order to get there however, CIOs, CISOs, and networking professionals have to think differently. Rather than try to emulate physical network security in the cloud, cybersecurity and networking staff must embrace virtual network security services, learn how to use them, and understand how to use them to improve security efficacy and operational efficiency.

Back in the 1990s, NetWare transformed file and print services and introduced an army of skilled IT professionals with CNE certifications. Over the next few years, we will see a similar revolution as security sheds its physical network shackles and assumes a role of virtual network services.

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